Using interactive artifacts to explore the interface between nature and citizens.
This curriculum is a final design studio for undergraduates, open to all design majors. It is an intensive, practice-based studio over nine weeks, in which we explore the interaction space between nature and citizens, and we build artifacts that can develop, transform and expand this interaction.
In some way, this is the more significative of the research-led teaching activities that we do: we radically explore the concept of ecology starting from the centre of the
In a world of climate crisis, it is imperative to produce projects and solutions which embed sustainability both in theory and practice. Unfortunately, the sustainability concepts are not yet at the core of education, and in particular in design education, we are still very much focused on producing products with little understanding of their large environmental impact and damage. This has to change rapidly: we need to clarify and introduce the concept of Anthropocene so then our students can acknowledge the limitations and impact of human interventions, and they start to design for a world where humans are not anymore dominating and imposing over the rest of the ecosystem. Instead, they will be the promoter of an ecological culture that looks at a balanced relationship with the environment.
Human-Centered Design → Designing for Ecosystem
Anthropocene → DEEP ECOLOGY
Ecology → Empathy
Design, Multi-species, Pluriverse
Nature, Biodiversity, Citizens Science
Fabrication & Prototypes
This studio proposes a learning experience which will look at the presence of Nature into the urban environment, with the aim to produce design projects which make us understand better the relationship between humans and the natural elements and, in the end, to produce projects which can inspire citizens of every age and culture to discover, respect and engage with the natural environment in their own daily life.
design is still very much focus on producing products with little understanding of their large environmental impact and damage
→ we want to change this!!
→ we want to design for a world where humans are not anymore dominating
and imposing over the rest of the ecosystem but living respectfully and integrated
→ throughout research and making, learning experience to look at the presence of Nature into the urban environment,
with the aim to produce design projects which can inspire citizens of every age and culture a new relationship with Nature,
starting from a renovated interest in knowing “who nature is”
The studio follows the general methodology of observe / discovery / narrative / prototype / engage
INPUTS: Explorative Research, Mapping and Fabrication Workshops
We look at ecological systems, understand the notion of relationship, look at the urban nature as a manifestation of an ecology, search with new eyes and interest where and how the element of nature (air, water, wood, earth, fire) manifest and interact in our daily life. Maps of nature in the urban environment will be produced as a research output.
The studio also aims to teach and experiment with basic component of fabrication, electronics and biomedia, to give to the students foundation for hand-made working prototypes of projects aimed to study the ecosystems, act in the ecosystem of urban-nature and stimulate citizens to reconnect with the natural environment and wisdom.
OUTPUTS: Concept and Prototyping
We use simple materials and techniques to very rapidly prototype, to design (brain) and make (hands) whatchamacallit, our own research tool in just 2 hours. Then we create progressive projects, in 2 days and 2 weeks, to engage/embody citizens in the rediscovery, appreciation, immersion, conservation, restoration, etc, of what is Urban Nature.
2 Days Prototype, Dialogue Tool #3
2 Weeks Prototype, Synthesized Embodiment #3
The studio also allows the students to get in touch with major literature, books, writers, and scholars about sustainability, not only in the field of design but looking at the system of discipline involved in sustainable innovation. One part of the course will, therefore, be about readings and participating in lectures around ecological topics.